Just Treatment of Church Ministers
“Jesus said ‘Feed my sheep.’ He didn’t say: ‘Be a sheep.’”
Ms. Irene Dymkar, former director of National Association of Lay Ministry
Irene Dymkar’s humorous statement quoted above was part of a presentation she gave in early November 2000 outlining some the challenges lay ministers encounter in their service to the people of God. She wanted people to realize how important it is to stand up for themselves in an all too human institution that doesn’t always practice what it preaches.
Just treatment issues are core to FutureChurch’s Advancing Women in Church Leadership Project, and merit special attention of their own on our website. With over 30,000 paid ecclesial ministers (80% of whom are women) now serving 20 hours or more per week in parishes, prisons and hospitals and just 18,000 active priests, these issues are not going to go away any time soon.
We have four goals for this dedicated portion of our website:
- To provide immediate resources and advice for lay ministers who have been fired or otherwise treated unjustly.
- To provide resources and referrals to those who can help.
- To document unjust treatment of church ministers.
- To praise dioceses/parishes with good practices and structures for lay ministers.
We are grateful to two women of the church, Ms. Ann Cass and Sr. Judy Molosky for agreeing to provide immediate email support and consultation for those facing unjust treatment.
We are also grateful for the work of other organizations dedicated to addressing problems related to just treatment of church ministers, particularly the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA) and the National Association for Lay Ministry (NALM). Links to their websites are provided on the right side of this page.